- 7 Benefits of Outsourcing Game Development
- Expertise in a particular technology
- No overheads
- Risk management
- Fresh vision from the other side
- Faster performance
- Less routine
- What about the risks and challenges of game development outsourcing?
- Data security and confidentiality
- Reliability issues
- Incompatibility and quality issues
- Tips for successful gaming outsourcing
- Communication and delivery
- Final Thoughts
Game creation is a complex process. Developing even a small game may require input from many teams of various expertise. The cost of mistakes due to lack of expertise or resources is quite high if you’re making the game single-handedly.
The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. As you grow as a game development company, you may use some hand from an outsourcing company. In fact, outsourcing is what helps development companies to progress and grow fast.
But what benefits of outsourcing game development fit your particular project? What parts of the project should you share, and what should you leave to yourself? How to choose the game development partner? Let’s figure out all the pros and cons of game outsourcing together.
Outsourcing is a very agile approach to development in the video games industry. It works in different ways for every particular company and project. Nowadays, you can literally outsource any part of your game or it’s lifecycle. But let’s take a look at some of the very core game development outsourcing advantages.
As mentioned above, developing even one game often requires solid expertise in multiple fields. Outsource game development benefits when some particular expertise lacks in your development or artistic team. You may empower your existing in-house team with additional professionals or invite a full external team if you don’t have the necessary professionals in your staff.
Doing so will help you save time and money on expanding your in-house team naturally or learning new technologies. For example, outsourcing art unburdens you from searching the market for artists of the required style, convincing them to join your team, waiting for them to finish the onboarding process, etc. Instead of that, you just find an outsourcing team with the expertise you need and make a deal.
Being significantly less expensive than hiring full-time in-house developers is one of the core advantages of outsourcing game development. It may be cost-efficient in few ways:
- No training and recruitment costs. Outsourcing a team of established professionals unburdens you from recruiting tasks, like researching the market for professionals with the required expertise, hunting them, and onboarding them.
- No bench. Developing a new project or a sequel to the game does not always start immediately after releasing the freshly developed game. The technical team may stay on the bench till that time, requiring salaries but not bringing profit. Avoiding it is one of the core benefits to outsource game development.
- Less stress. A team of in-house developers, chances are they will be working on numerous company projects. This can lead to inefficient work processes, confusion, and redundant effort.
Apart from avoiding the need to hire new resources, game outsourcing benefits from solving the overheads issue. Besides paying a bench salary, overheads are also expensive because you pay for necessary hardware and software, rents, and other costs, required to hold an inhouse team. When you work with an outsourcer, you hold the team for how long you need.
Any software development business, including game development, is very agile in terms of processes and teams. Programmers tend to change work often, which always affects the project. Turning over some key developers may delay the release dates for months.
Outsourcing solves this with no stress. Nobody leaves your project until the contract says so, helping you to care less about risks.
Developers, who work on projects for a long time, may face problems like circular thinking and creative issues. Involving an external team helps to see your project from the other side and apply some fresh perspectives.
It’s simple: ten people build a house faster than two. Same with developing video games. More professionals do the same task faster. And again, you save time on recruiting every particular professional.
Last, but not least in the list of gaming outsourcing advantages. Trusting the routine and technical part of your project to an external team brings you much more free time for a more creative job like producing and designing.
Some risky points of this approach may reduce all the pros of game development outsourcing to nothing. External development is not a panacea for everyone and it definitely has some points you should think through while making your game. Here are some of the key things to keep in mind.
Developing the game alongside an external team requires a lot of info and data to be shared, which may lead to some unpredictable consequences. Signing NDA may help solve some of those issues, but it’s not a panacea: the legal power and meaning of NDA vary in different countries. In this case, following NDA and other security initiatives is more about the reputation for both sides, not for actual security.
To be more confident about these issues, partner with an experienced and established outsourcing company. There's a much higher chance that this company treats both the security and reputation aspect properly.
Even though remote work has progressed drastically in the last decade, it still has room for improvement. And, naturally, having all the teams in the same building feels safer and more trustworthy. Of course, it’s not a fantastic case that a contractor disappears at some point. Obviously, it brings unwanted additional costs and wasted time. But that usually happens with freelancers, not companies. But you can develop a high level of trust between development teams even thousands of miles apart.
Keep in mind that even though you’re working on the same game or project, your external partner and you are different companies with different habits and beliefs. Outsourcers may share your goals and spirit, but it’s not the obligation. Keep it strict and professional and you’ll get the quality you’re looking for.
Every development team or even every particular specialist has their own professional habits, working style preferences, and standards. And when multiple contractors work on the same game, there's a big risk that merging the results of their input in incompatible materials. There’s a high risk of bugs, optimization issues, non-fitting art styles, or missed art concepts.
Spend time to choose the right team of outsourcers and set your project’s goals properly and transparently to minimize the risk of incompatibility while working with multiple contractors.
Good advice is to deal with the company that shares their working processes, not just the results of their work. Negotiate as many details as you can and organize the status reporting process while working with one or more outsourcing partners. Asking an outsourcer to use the tracking software you prefer, organizing a relatively small test assignment or a discovery phase are always good ways to test the compatibility.
Here are some practical tips about how to get what you want from outsourcing and avoid common risks while developing your game.
Better safe than sorry. Take a look at some advice to use even with a trustworthy outsourcing partner:
- Only provide access to the necessary part of the functionality, not to the whole project
- Don’t hesitate to sign the NDA
- Mind the necessity of getting the copyright.
- Define the responsibility for not following the agreement conditions.
The external team should go deep into your product’s specifics to meet the deadline and your expectations regarding the quality:
- Make a list of selection criteria for all parts of your game where you plan to invite outsourcers;
- Choose companies with the necessary qualification and experience with similar projects;
- Get a third-party audit, in case you don’t have a professional who can estimate the qualification of the contractors.
For your expectations to meet reality, it’s better to discuss some moments at the very beginning:
- Plan the system of cooperating with the team: how and when they provide feedback. Define plans, tracking, and reports;
- Document the technical requirements and financial obligations;
- Provide your feedback and possible changes to the plan in time and full scale: assign tasks strictly and make sure the contractor interprets your assignment correctly;
- Set priorities and clear efficiency evaluation criteria.
Outsourcing is a powerful tool in game development, but only if used correctly.
Devil is in the detail here. Serious problems may grow from small communicative or technical issues like a snowflake. But still, there’s no better way to empower your project in a matter of weeks than outsourcing.
The key thing is to choose the right contractor. Drop us a line in case you need one!